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RC “Livonia” from beginning to many titles and achievements
One of the current not only Latvian, but Baltic rugby club “Livonia” was established in 2007 by Vigo Valdavs and Janis Zuments. However, the roots of the club we can find even few years earlier, because RC “Livonia” was established on the basis of the rugby club “Laima”. Meanwhile RC “Laima”, which represented confectionary fabric, was created in 2003 by former Latvian national rugby team player Vigo Valdavs, who had a goal to establish and develop rugby club from the very beginning. The start was successful, because “Laima” rugby7 team won the first place three years in a row from 2004 to 2006 in Latvian Amateur championships.
In the beginning the way upwards of the newly established RC “Livonia” was gradual. In the first year in Lavian championships in rugby7 “Livonia” finished in 7th place, but next year (2008) “Livonia” showed big improvement and was so close to its first podium place, finishing fourth in rugby7. The same fourth place was repeated in 2009, finishing one more time so close to podium.
In 2010 RC “Livonia” move further up and wins first medal on national championships. RC “Kurši/Livonia” earns silver in rugby7. In one of the championships stages “Livonia” players were first, by thus proving that in the future the title is within the grabs. 2010 was also significant, because RC “Livonia” made a debut in national championships in rugby15, finishing seventh.
Next year one more time silver medal was won, thus defending the vice champion’s title. Meanwhile in the second season in rugby15 “Livonia” team improves their result by several positions and comes so close to their first medals in classical rugby, finishing in the fourth place. The same is repeated in next season. In rugby7 series of silver medal reaches three years in a row, another time securing second place.
2013 was very successful for team “Livonia” and this year became in history for the team as golden year or champion year. However, it was achieved not only in rugby7, but also in rugby15. “Autowelt/Livonia” played marvellous game and after three silver medals finally came the long awaited gold. But even more joyful and significant fact was triumph of “Garkalne/Livonia” in rugby15. Thus the first medal in classical rugby for “Livonia” players was already gold. In this year in addition to team’s achievements the fact worth to mention is that European championships of division B of North zone in rugby7 took place in the stadium of Upesciems, which is the home ground for “Livonia”.
Next year turn out to be even more successful, because in 2014 “Livonia” players continued to show their class, beating all opponents both in rugby15 and rugby7. “Garkalne/Livonia” defended the title in rugby15, becoming the double or two times champions. In addition to that “Livonia” earns another two title in rugby15 that year – first time they won both Latvian cup and President cup in rugby. Thus “Livonia” won all which was possible in classical rugby. Also close to such performance was “Livonia” players in rugby7, because “Huracan/Livonia” also defended the title and for the first time became Latvian cup winner in rugby7.
The very successful 2014 for “Livonia” was supplemented by another achievement of women’s team. Fighting against more experienced players, young girls of “Jaunpiebalga-Garkalne/Livonia” team from U18 group won bronze medal at Latvian championships in rugby7 for women.
In 2015 “Livonia” had to settle for second place, but year later team managed to regain the title and for the second time wining the first place at national championships in rugby15. Meantime the President cup is won by “Livonia” second year in a row. However very special achievement is reached in rugby7 that year, because for the first time in history two teams from one club earned medals at championships. “Huracan/Livonia’” became the champions, but the second team “Garkalne/Livonia” wins the bronze.
With this the list of achievements in 2015 does not end, because for the first time in history any of youth teams of “Livonia” earns the title. It was achieved by “Jaunpiebalga/Garkalne-Livonia” girls teams, called also “The Black panthers”, which became the Latvian cup winners of U18 group, but in the women’s category they played in the final. Year later once again “The Black panthers” are unbeatable in Latvian cup and in addition to that they became also national champions of the same U18 group.
After such year full of achievements it is appropriate with the feeling of satisfaction and pride to claim that creation of pyramid of the teams of all age groups within the club was completed.
Champion title, won in 2015, allowed “Livonia” team in 2016 to participate for the first time in European champions cup, which took place in St.Petersburg. Debut in this prestigious tournament ends with respectable 7th place. In 2016 club first year plays not only in the highest division, but also is represented in the first league, where two bronze medals were won – in rugby15 that was done by efforts of “Livonia/Pērkona vīri”, but in rugby7 by “Livonia/Vidzeme” good performance.
In 2017 “Livonia” celebrated its tenth anniversary with wide range and in proper manner with so many achievements. For the third time they became the Latvian champions in rugby15, but in rugby7 they won already the fourth consecutive title. Following years, by taking second place one year and first another, “Livonia” in 2021 has collected already five champions titles in rugby15. team was so close to the sixth one as well, but in 2018, after beating “Miesnieki” in Latvian cup and in regular season, however in the final “Livonia” lost to the principal opponent. Luck turned back to team also in rugby7, where “Livonia” were represented by three teams, best of which “Baltic XL/Livonia” won, but later was disqualified in disputable way.
In 2019.“Garkalne/Livonia” made debut in prestigious Baltic Top league, where two best Latvian teams plays against several very strong Lithuanian teams. Debut turned out to be very successful, because not only “Livonia” was best from Latvian teams, but also they made Top3, finishing just behind two titled Lithuanian teams “Vairas-Kalvis-Jupoja” and “Baltrex”. 2019 turned out to be successful also for women’s team “LSPA/Livonia”, which became Latvian champions in rugby7 and earned third consecutive victory in Latvian cup. In European club championships was won the very high second place. Something to be proud of was also for two youth teams – U14 and U12, which won the Latvian championships.
2022 will be remembered by great and historic achievement – RC “Livonia” became the first Latvian team, who reached the final in very strong Baltic Top league. In regular season livonians finished fourth, which meant that in semifinal they had to play against regular seasons winners. This semifinal against Kaunas “Azuolas” turned out be very dramatic, because both teams were so equal that on both games aggregate they were separated by just one point, in this occasion in favour of “Livonia”. In the final game only in the last ten minutes livonians had to admit the stronger opposition of “Vairas-Kalvis-Jupoja” Showing respectable resistance to the winners, “Livonia” earned historic second place.
In 2023 with new determination was played best regular season in Baltic Top league. “AlphaLane/Livonia” in seven games took six victories, including historic and first time over titled “Baltrex” from Siauliai, and lost only once. Such a blistering balance 6-1 allowed to take second place and overvhelmingly make through to semifinals second year in a row. Several injuries of leading players affected the team’s performance in the semifinal and in the game for third place. Therefore this time livonians had to settle for the fourth place.
In 2023 “Livonia” women team once again earned silver medal at Latvian championships, but finished third in Latvian cup. Youth U18 team makes something to cheer for, becoming leading team in summary of five stages and winning Latvian championships. In all stages dominates “Livonian” U10 team, but in U16 and in U14 groups livonians grabbing silver medals.
“Livonia” second men team participates in newly established Baltic championships, where they finished seventh. The problems with making complete squad in the beginnings of championships prevented from reaching semifinals or Top4, which was only one victory away. “Livonia” second team respectively and with small difference in score lost to “Baltrex” second team in one of the group stage games, which appeared to be decisive in reaching the semifinals.